Think of an iconic band, film or sporting moment. Got one? What you probably think of next is the shining star, the protagonist, the star player: a Jim Morrison, a Meryl Streep, a Lionel Messi. Of course everyone always remembers the front man. And it’s easy to see why: they dazzle and spellbind us and leave us in awe, wanting more. But as the adage goes, no man (or woman) is an island.
In other words: forget the rest of the band at your peril. Without the sound, energy and presence of the band, the lead singer is potentially just a semi-naked guy strutting around on an empty stage, singing acapella and looking kinda deranged. And the same goes for creating superlative content marketing (minus the naked bit).
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It’s not just about the coalface where the creative magic happens. It takes a well-structured framework of individuals with defined roles all pulling in the same direction and, crucially, committed to the same goal: producing excellent content. To sustain the living, breathing machine that is content marketing, you need the rhythm and bass to be in perfect harmony with the melody, so to speak. You need buy-in and commitment from every level of your team from the CEO to Angela in accounts. So here it is: our vision of the ultimate content excellence dream team….
While nobody’s suggesting that the CEO needs to be directly involved in the day-to-day nitty gritty of producing content, it is vital that they buy into the concept as a whole and believe in the value of what you’re trying to achieve. To continue the metaphor: you don’t need them on stage but they should be waiting in the wings, watching the show with the set list in their hands, fully aware of what comes next.
An efficient way to do this is to keep them well informed about the content strategy and report back regularly on relevant progress and changes. Certainly if this is a cultural shift in your organisation towards content marketing as a new strategy, it’s crucial that everyone, from the top down, is clued up and committed to the charge.
The Marketing Director
This is where the implementation truly begins. As with all aspects of marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating an effective content marketing strategy, and that’s why the marketing director’s role is key to the process. This is the person who will be able to pinpoint weaknesses in the business and decide how content creation can be integrated into the wider marketing strategy to best benefit the organisation. Think of them as the record producer…they see the obstacles and what it’s going to take to turn that song into a number 1 hit.
The Marketing Manager
This is the band manager, if you will. The go-to and go-between for in-house and external collaborators: a critical lynchpin in the drive to create excellent content. Not only do they implement the tactical plan and deal with the specifics of executing the marketing strategy, but they also act as a conduit between in-house and external team members to keep the content flow smooth and steady. Having this single point of contact for external agencies is key for efficient communication and preventing bottlenecks. Their in-depth understanding of the brand and its unique needs also puts them in the perfect position to sign off on content prior to publishing.
The External Content Agency
Bringing plenty of flair and creative magic to the arena, these guys are on lead guitar, working collaboratively with your organisation to create the most authentic content. The best part is that they eat, sleep and breathe content so they know exactly what it takes to produce the highest quality creative.
As Jolie Miller (content strategy and acquisitions leader at LinkedIn) recently said, ‘creating good content is about passion’, and that’s what an external content hub can provide: pure passion combined with know-how. Essentially, their role is threefold: creating a content strategy which works in harmony with the wider marketing strategy; producing that all-important delicious content and, critically, utilising the most suitable distribution channels to ensure your content is as far-reaching and effective as possible.
The Rest of The Team
When it comes to content, as with most things, nothing shines quite like authenticity. If you want the best content about something tech-related, it’s probably best you speak to the technical guy. His experience and knowledge will be invaluable in creating informative content, and that’s why it’s so vital to have him on board — him and everyone else. All aspects of the business can and should be represented; not everyone has to write, of course, or be involved in the nuts and bolts of content creation, but all the members of your team will have something valuable to contribute, whether it’s an interview, an idea, a story or simply their knowledge.
So there it is: everyone you need to produce consistently excellent content, which is basically… everyone. As the thirst for engaging content grows, more and more brands are realising that effective creative is a much more likely outcome when it’s a team effort. Nothing illustrates this better than the recent commercials by Wisconsin-based company, Johnsonville. By asking their employees to share their vision of the brand in their own words, they created a series of inspirational videos, brimming with humour, pathos and authenticity – the kind of truth you only get when you open up the conversation.
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